Bonds gets one more home shot at 715

One more shot at home

SAN FRANCISCO -- And now it's down to one precious game, another finale of another homestand Sunday. Four plate appearances, maybe five. Byung-Hung Kim on the mound for the Colorado Rockies. Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds tied at 714.

If Saturday evening was supposed to be a send-off, Bonds gave it all he had. Before the Giants won, 4-1, Bonds circled the field along with his teammates to take pictures and shake hands with the first 3,000 fans among the eventual crowd of 40,350 during the club's annual on-field photo day.

"It was fun," said Bonds, who worked the crowded yard. In front of his locker sat a bouquet of orange roses wrapped with an orange and black ribbon. Giants colors.

"From one of my fans," he said.

In the game, Bonds tried to hit his 715th homer to pass Ruth and go into second place on the all-time list, placing him in direct line toward Hank Aaron's all-time leading 755. But just like the last week since he hit No. 714 at Oakland, try as he might, it didn't happen.

On the third pitch of his first at-bat to lead off the second inning against right-handed starter Josh Fogg, Bonds lined it over the right-field wall into McCovey Cove, his first splash shot of the season. Unfortunately, it landed some 50 feet foul. He then lined out to right.

For his third plate appearance in the fifth inning, he came up with two out and the bases loaded, the crowd chanting, stomping and standing in anticipation. He popped out on Fogg's first pitch. The anguish and frustration was evident in Bonds' face as he plodded out to left field.

"It was a good pitch," manager Felipe Alou said. "On the outside corner, but it was a strike. Maybe he was a little anxious."

There was a walk, his 46th of the season, and another run scored, his 26th, both coming in his 41st game. But no 715.

"We're waiting for it just like everyone else," said Bonds' teammate Mark Sweeney. "It's still there -- 715. It's important for him to get it became it secures that place in history. It's important to us so we can move on and focus on baseball as usual."

But it all comes down to this: If Bonds doesn't hit a homer Sunday, he'll have gone through the last two homestands without one.

Alou said he anticipated having Bonds in the lineup, although that decision won't be made until the lefty slugger shows up a few hours before the game. Asked if he expected to play, Bonds said: "I think so."

to the babe and beyond

The Giants then hit the road Monday for three games each at Florida and New York's Shea Stadium, beginning with a 3:05 p.m. PT start against the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium. They won't be home again until June 5. Bonds' wife and daughter left town Saturday and won't be on the trip. If he hits it Sunday or on the road this week, they won't be there to share the moment.

Since belting No. 714 on May 20 at Oakland, Bonds is 5-for-18 (all of them singles) with six walks (four intentional) and three RBIs, giving him just 18 for the season in 111 at-bats.

Bonds has hit just two homers in the club's last 22 games. It's now been 24 plate appearances since Bonds smacked No. 714 to lead off the second inning at McAfee Coliseum and 65 plate appearances since he hit No. 713 nearly into the third deck of Citizens Bank Park at Philadelphia on May 7.

Bonds hasn't hit a homer in San Francisco since he took San Diego's Scott Linebrink nearly to the base of the center-field scoreboard in the eighth inning on May 2 for No. 712. The Giants have played 12 home games since then. Bonds came close only once -- on May 9 against the Cubs when Juan Pierre went to the top of the center-field fence and robbed what appeared to be the Ruth-tying homer.

Like Saturday evening, Alou left Bonds in those games for the full nine innings to squeeze out every last at-bat. There was a euphoria then on each pitch to Bonds, which has seemed to wane in recent days, but was back in full evidence Saturday.

"It was something waiting for 714," Alou said. "Even before 714, our guys were up in the dugout on every pitch to Barry, just waiting for it. Now, it seems like it's more relaxed. Like it's already been done. But when he hits 715, the guys will realize it."

So will the home crowd. One more time on this homestand. Four or five more plate appearances. One more game this time around in San Francisco to take a shot at it.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.